Capitole - University of Strathclyde

University of Toulouse – Capitole
How does the workload in your classes compare to Strathclyde.
2 x Easier
Is there anything that you wished that you knew about the classes before you went?
There's a law school policy that says we cant study a subject in France that we have studied already in
Scotland. We weren't made aware of this until wed already started our classes.
The lecture halls are so warm it's disgusting - wear layers or you'll pass out/die! TDs - they are not
compulsory! I'd recommend avoiding them as they tend to be heavier on the workload. You can find class
pages on Facebook where French students post notes for each other! There is one for each group within each
year group - in Toulouse they split each year group into like 4 different groups depending on surname but as an
Erasmus student you can pick any classes, no matter which group or year they're from - (search for example
UT1 - L1 droit groupe 4)
You don't necessarily have to do tutorials- make sure to find out. If you don't, think about whether you really
want to do them!
What type of accommodation are you staying in whilst away?
Private accommodation
What is your monthly cost for accommodation?
350€ + bills (60€)
Rent is 500 euros. Internet, gas, electricity and insurance maybe make it closer to 575. However, I get 175
refunded per month as CAF
Do you have any advice about how looking for accommodation? Is there anything you wished you knew
before you left about accommodation?
Accommodation is really hard to find in Toulouse. I wish wed had the chance to go to halls as it was much more
affordable but as it happened we never found out we were going to Toulouse until after the application
deadline for halls.
Definitely live with a French person or you will speak very little French. I found my coloc (flatmate) on so would recommend searching on there. You can also search on Facebook for Erasmus groups as
people post there all the time looking for flatmates or offering a room. Student accommodation is a good
backup to have if you're seriously stuck (you can always apply and then email them after you've got a
colocation sorted) but I would not recommend living there - it's ridiculously small (the bed pulls down from the
ceiling and sits on top of your desk, the "bathroom" is so tiny that when you sit on the toilet your feet are in
the shower, and the "kitchen" consists of a minuscule fridge and stove) and if you're in Rangueil halls (the
furthest away of the 3) you are virtually at the end of the metro line - nightmare!! Another thing about
France is that if you're not in student halls most estate agents/proprietors/etc want you to have a guarantor.
This usually has to be someone living in France, but you can apply to the regional council (Midi-Pyrenees) for
them to be your guarantor - just search online and you should find the application forms ok. Other people will
accept your parents as guarantors even though they live in Britain. It all depends on the estate agent really.
If you can get CROUS, do it. Failing that, don't be fooled by private student residences- the pictures are a lie
and you will pay a lot of money for little space in a not very central location! Going private sector is a stressyou won't be able to sort anything out until you arrive, but it pays off. You will need a guarantor, and this can
be a bit tricky- make sure to have parents' payslips etc available, and a letter of caution in French too.
What is the town/city like where you stay?
Toulouse is an amazing city perfect for students, there's always something to do and something going on. It's got a
really good vibe to it the people were all really nice and friendly.
There are loads of students and a lot of nightlife, which is great. Tons of museums and cinemas too. Excellent icecream as well! Not as picturesque as I'd imagined - it's the kind of place where certain buildings or parks are really
beautiful and others not so much. But that's normal for a city. Easy to get from Toulouse to Barcelona (5€
Megabus!!), to Geneva (cheap Easy Jet flight), to home (Jet2 do direct flights in summer and Flybe takes you to
Glasgow/Edinburgh via Birmingham in winter) and pretty much everywhere else in France so great if you want to
travel. One thing I would say about the city is that there are quite a few homeless people (generally harmless
but just sad to see so many people on the street). There are also a lot of dogs and no one cleans up their poo! As a
woman you will also find that men here are creeeeeeppppyyyy. Catcalling appears to be a popular pastime for
(mostly) middle aged men. But having spoken to friends staying in Lyon, Montpellier and Anger, I've come to
realise that this problem is not exclusive to Toulouse. My advice is to cycle places when you are alone (especially
on a night out) as you will avoid the creeps. The vélo system in Toulouse is excellent!
Toulouse is fantastic- the weather is amazing and there's always a lot going on.
Where is your favourite place to go?
Capitole building - if you go inside and up the stairs into the building there are rooms filled with paintings, i's
gorgeous. Also love Esquirol area (great cocktail bar called Moloko, vintage shops and a veggie restaurant called Le
Faim des Haricots)
Either the pub or Carmes market.
How do you find the university facilities (for example, library, labs, campus)?
Fine similar to strathclyde
Only been to the library once as I like to study from home but it seems pretty good. Lecture halls are so
uncomfortable - i wish they'd just invest in air con and decent seats!
University facilities are ok- the library is good but always packed. The lecture halls are either too cold or too hot.
The campus is really nice and very central.
Do you spend more or less money than you expected?
2 x More
1 x Less
Are you surprised by the high cost of anything in particular(for example, taxis, cheese, bread, wine)?
Taxis are really difficult to come by but when you do get one they're really expensive. Simple things like good
shopping was much more expensive than Scotland as was rent etc
Taxis are extortionate - no one uses them. I've heard meat is quite expensive but I'm veggie. Other food generally
costs about the same as at home. As for drink, beer and wine are super cheap but "alcohol fort" (i.e. spirits), is
sooooo pricey in bars and clubs! In a club they'll charge you like 9€ for a gin and tonic, same for vodka and coke!
Toulouse is also devoid of good gin. But you can get a bottle of Absolute vodka in Auchan (gigantic cheap
supermarket at Balma Gramont metro stop) for 15€.
Never get a taxi, it's ridiculously expensive. Doing clothes washing is expensive! You won't have a washing
machine in your flat (unless you're paying lots or are very very lucky) so budget for the laundrette. It adds up!
How much money do you estimate you spend per month (any currency is ok)?
At least €800
It's really hard to estimate. I'd say about 650€ a month. But most of that is on unnecessary things (food and
transport is cheap (metro ticket is 10€ a month and the vélo was 20€ for the year!) - ski trip, travelling, going
out. The Christmas market bankrupted me. What I would say is you need a lot of money for the first month or
two as you have all your toiletries and bedding and basic food stuff (oil and spices and tinned things and even
cups/pots/cutlery if you're in student halls or a studio) to buy. So save up as much as you can before you go!
Do you have a good social life? Does the host University offer any particular activities for international
There was an ESN group at the uni which was great they put on nights out and weekends away. It made it
really easy to meet other students and see a bit more of Toulouse and the surrounding towns.
Great social life in Toulouse as there are so many Erasmus students and the ESN society is really good at
organising trips away and nights out. Other than stuff the ESN society organise the University doesn't offer
anything specifically for Erasmus students but I've still been to see orchestra concerts that are open to all
students and I'm going on the university ski trip in January which is just another thing they organise generally
but there 's a good group of Erasmus students going too.
Yes- the best thing has been making friends with local students. Erasmus events have their place, but try to get
away from them early on- it's a big business and they're never that fantastic. People at all international type
events will usually want to speak English too!
Would you recommend this University to future Strathclyde students who are considering studying abroad?
If not, please explain your response or contact the Recruitment and International Office to discuss.
2 x Yes
Overall I would say yes as the social aspect of the university is great! The lectures I've taken have also been
pretty interesting (they have a really wide variety of subjects) and the lecturers are also quite understanding of
Erasmus students and have arranged for us to have separate exams from the normal French students. But be
prepared at the start for the organisational mess - Toulouse are seriously slow at anything involving
organisation. We weren't give access to our online classes until last month. Plus Agnes in the international
office is not the most welcoming. I suggest speaking to her student assistants instead of her as they are much
nicer and generally seem more clued up on what's actually going on
Are you glad you decided to participate in an Erasmus Exchange? Please explain your answer.
Erasmus was compulsory for my degree but even if it wasn't I would like to think I would still have taken part. It
was the best year of my life and it's increased my life experience massively. As a result of my exchange I'm
much more independent, confident and adaptable. I made some amazing friends from all around the world,
improved my French language skills and broadened my horizons.
Absolutely. I can't stress enough how much it has improved my French! I was so nervous about speaking
French before I arrived in France but now I can actually sit and have full conversations in French without feeling
completely out of my depth. I've also made a lot of really good friends and have enjoyed the independence of
being so far away from home.
Yes- you'll never get another chance like it! There are stressful bits, but you will definitely get through it!
Is there any additional information/advice you would like to pass on to future students who are considering
study abroad at the same institution as you?
The international office in Toulouse was extremely unhelpful. So don't expect too much from them. The lady in
the office is very unapproachable and unwelcoming. This didn't make a huge impact on my year but it was very
discouraging when you were having issues with anything she wasn't very forthcoming with advice or
information. I would say just grab every experience you possibly can and make the most of the year. It'll be
the fastest year of your life so just enjoy it and appreciate the experience before you stuck back I'm dreary
Live with a French person. Go out and go on as many trips away as possible. Buy a fan. Do not attempt to
swim in the Garonne.
Get in touch with people here the year before- they will be able to explain the paperwork that you need to do!
Don't worry if you feel like you're spending a lot of money at first, it's normal and it settles down a lot!